From the beginning, we wanted to create a senior living community whose identity was driven by community and whose functionality met all our client’s healthcare needs.
Located on a busy street in Otay Ranch’s neighborhood center, St. Paul’s Plaza sits at a transition from retail to residential. As the architecture shifts to residential, the overall massing gradually steps down, creating a public urban edge that envelopes a more private oasis, a refuge for residents and their families, at its heart. To clearly define this edge at a human scale, our exterior design further breaks up the four-story mass with wood archways, ground-level landscaping, and textural details, especially along the retail side. A Mission-inspired clock tower rises at the site’s northwest corner, both referencing the public buildings of the late 19th Century Southwest and establishing St. Paul’s Plaza as an architectural landmark in Chula Vista.
The campus’s main entrance and drop-off area, facing a quieter side street, is enveloped by beautiful, large courtyard spaces, a playground, and walking paths. At night, these central outdoor areas can be cordoned off for individual families’ use or for bigger social gatherings—movies, live theater, concerts, or the like. Year-round connection to Southern California’s outdoors was critically important to our overall design; outside roof decks, shared dining areas, and a solarium further meld the boundaries between indoors and out.
Inside, a bar area and grand staircase serves as a multipurpose, pre-function space for events like choir performances. Ground-floor circulation allows access to outdoor dining, as well as upper decks above the entry and on the clock tower level.
Since the residents of St. Paul’s Plaza are, on average, around 80 years old, we designed the campus with no steep slopes, giving people access to everything they need via elevator. Across the street sits a medical center and services for physical therapy; a fitness pool, exercise room, dance room, and outdoor terraces encourage exercise and social activities. For visiting families, we included small dining and kitchens on every floor, and memory care is divided into discrete neighborhoods that look like houses, complete with shared living rooms.
These elements combine to give residents and families of St. Paul’s Plaza exactly what they hoped for: A homey community designed around their physical and emotional wellbeing, where they feel at home and cared for. We’re so happy to be part of that.